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Review: Twelfth Night at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre York

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To book a babysitter or not to book a babysitter, that is the question. When it comes to the summer holiday juggle, we’re firmly of the opinion that a night out or two is vital if you’re going to reach September and still be on speaking terms with your offspring. And one of York’s most unique nights out this summer is a trip to catch a show at Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre, the pop-up Elizabethan theatre in the shadow of Clifford’s Tower. There are four plays to choose from: Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Henry V and The Tempest. We went along one balmy evening to see Twelfth Night, the much-loved comic tale of mistaken identity.

It’s a show brimming with energy, from the Twenties-inspired set, live music and costume to hilarious set-pieces and fabulous farce. Although our top tip from last year remains – swot up on the plot before you go to avoid confusion – the story is easy to follow, even for those of us who haven’t encountered Shakespeare since school, and there are gags aplenty. The performances are outstanding, and we have to give a special mention to Cassie Vallance – a York actor and co-founder of the fabulous Story Craft Theatre – who steals every scene she’s in with a simple flick of the eyes or bend of the knee. This is a joyful celebration of a show that’s made even more special by the venue: watching the sun go down as the action plays out on stage is a lovely thing indeed.

Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre is open until 1st September 2019 – Children shouldn’t miss the new kids’ show, Billy Shakes – Visit the Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre website for more details

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